Hiking trails/trailmarkers - whats eligeble?



  • TWVer-INGTWVer-ING Posts: 777 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is not what I am saying. What I am saying is: If it meats an eligibility criteria, it cannot be rejected for "does not meet eligibility criteria".

  • NeohBel-PGONeohBel-PGO Posts: 52 ✭✭

    The problem is people nominate the markers (not eligible to me because the marker itself isn't interesting) instead of the trail itself (great nomination!). As clarified recently, the trailmarker can be used as a proxy for the trail you're nominating.

    This works in exactly the same way as as any nomination of a large natural feature: you don't nominate the mountain, but any sign that points to it.

    The title should always refer to the object you're nominating so I would always name the trail in the title and the description should talk about the trail itself, not the marker.

    When a second nomination happens of the same object (whether it's a mountain or a trail) I presume it must be marked as a duplicate following this logic.

  • TWVer-INGTWVer-ING Posts: 777 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree with most of your post, but rejecting a wayspot for that is just nitpicking.

    About a second nomination, this is what the guidelines used to say:

    Objects installed in a series - Objects installed in a series can be submitted as a group or individually, depending on the distance between them. If they are relatively close together and share a single sign, consider them as a single Wayspot, but please ensure that the objects are in fact related before nominating. If they are relatively far apart, consider them as multiple Wayspots.

    This is no longer in the guidelines, but I see no reason why this would have changed.

  • Jtronmoore-PGOJtronmoore-PGO Posts: 1,581 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2021

    Under the november ama I commented with a question basically asking when hiking/biking trails should be accepted and if they should be rejected under the “does not meet eligibility criteria” (i for one dont believe they should). Also this as well wether we are to accept only one or multiple. Im on the side of multiple

    hoping that some one at niantic can take 5 minutes of there day and give us a solid answer we can go off of

  • NeohBel-PGONeohBel-PGO Posts: 52 ✭✭

    Seems logical to me that the "series" definition would allow more WP's on a trail. Then again: the part "depending on the distance between them" seems pretty vague. How far away is ok? Do we treat dense areas like cities the same as forest hiking trails that go on for kilometers? As @Jtronmoore-PGO said: some clarification from Niantic would be nice here.

    In the mean time I would reject the POIs, since having it nominated again is a lot better than having a series of WP's in the game that in the end don't fit the rules as they were intended by their writer.

  • Raachermannl-INGRaachermannl-ING Posts: 1,070 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2021

    this "vague" isnt really vague, since this rule is used for fitness trails and single playground devices too. So one can identify the intention behind it: Niantic only wants to prevent special types of objects to be used for creating clusters. That means players shall not have access to two wayspots of the same type without moving. So you can use a rule of thumb: more than 100m between objects installed in a series. If you are a hard guy, use 300m for your own rule of thumb..... its okay too.

    Conclusion for hiking trail: they are in most cases at least few hundreds of metres apart. Usually few kilometres. so they arent effected by this rule in most cases. Which example in detail is eligible and which example is not, that depends on the trail marking system and organisation of the region. I made a separate post for this..... but with a picture, so it needs to be approved by forum mods -.-

  • Raachermannl-INGRaachermannl-ING Posts: 1,070 ✭✭✭✭✭

    you are American, am I right?

    Your point of view fits well for short circular routes with well defined starting points or something like that.

    In Germany there are nearly no hiking trail markers, that are proxy for only one trail. Germany has lots of region crossing hiking trails, that form whole networks. Lots of different access points for the same large route or way around one acces point stands for half a dozen trails with well known names. So its simply not possible to have one single proxy for one trail. For example trails like this one: Germany's most famous one, the Rennsteig, is 170km long. It crosses and/or shares routes with other famous large trails like the ways of St.John or the Martin-Luther-Trail of Thuringia... so there can't be only a single proxy. this may be great way to treat your own regions trail marker system, but that cant be applied evrywhere. There is the need for a more open minded view on these markers, depending on local style. Niantic itself is very openminded, when it comes down to clarification questions. So have a look at the numerous threads about the Dutch knooppunt system or the even more strange British woodposts without any distinct signs .... it's in general approved by Niantic.

    So for example for eastern Germany this should be a 5* trail marker:

    (Those white-color-white symbols represent large named route, each of them is longer than 50km in this example)

    A No-Go example would be a markers with only the white-color-white symbols alone. They are very very very common. They are only to assure you, that you are still on the right path.

    When it comes down to me for Czech, Polish or Western German trail markers my voting will be more carefully, more in the 2-4* range instead of fast 1/5* decisions, because simply the system how a trail is signed and organised can be totally different.

  • phi2458-PGOphi2458-PGO Posts: 164 ✭✭✭

    If I remember it correctly, “mass-produced object” was a supplementary rule to “visually distinct nomination” in the old guidelines. In other words, if the nomination meets other criteria (e.g., cultural, historical, educational), the “mass-produced object” rule is not applicable. I could not find the old guidelines, and not sure if I’m correct. 

    However, it seems that the “mass-produced object” rule applies to all of the nominations in criteria 3.1. It leads to a lot of eligible nominations becoming ineligible. I believe we need some further clarification by Niantic.

  • MessiPy-INGMessiPy-ING Posts: 122 ✭✭✭

    If it says path with such a name it should be acceptable, example San Sebastian path

  • NeohBel-PGONeohBel-PGO Posts: 52 ✭✭

    Belgium, sorry. 😊 The Knooppunten is something we know in Belgium too and when reviewing I struggle with this too. To give you an idea: this is the map of Flanders. If every marker for those "routes" (see footnote) is eligible, the whole country could be full of Wayspots and most of them won't be a real POIs since they're found in very boring residential areas too.

    That's one of the reasons I hate trail markers that much and I would reject most of them. A real walking trail in an interesting area however I would let through. The named ones you describe look like nominations I would accept too because they were in the previous criteria and these criteria should be "more inclusive" as stated somewhere above.

    (Footnote: to me they aren't trails, just safe bicycle lanes between 2 points, but that's semantics and a whole other discussion...)

  • IAmSith22-PGOIAmSith22-PGO Posts: 7 ✭✭

    I really feel like this needs to be clarified by Niantic. There is a Forest Preserve in my area in the US that is 1200 acres in size (approximately 5 sq km, or 485 hectare) and contains several intersecting walking and biking trails. I have walked the entire Preserve and there are only 12 trail markers contained throughout, not one of them contains the same information on them twice and most of them are 3-5 kilometers apart (the closest is 2km). However, I have had two of these markers rejected due to the “visually unique” criteria not being met. While the posts of these markers are 4x4 wood, the markers themselves contain the name of the Preserve, the name of the Trail and provide the direction to go. Again, each one is unique and there are very few of them in the entire preserve.

    This Preserve should be a Community destination for Niantic game players, but unfortunately because markers like these, memorial benches/trees with permanent plaques placed in metal or concrete cannot get approved, the Community will not schedule events at this location. There are very few footbridges, fishing piers or other interesting unique items that have been created into portals, but those that have been are concentrated in one or two areas. This is the type of place that is exactly what Niantic describes as a place to walk around, discover with friends, or sit and enjoy the surroundings. However, because of the lack of clarity for items like these, it is having the opposite effect and keeping Community members away,

  • AScarletSabre-PGOAScarletSabre-PGO Posts: 754 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Exactly what I was going to say. If a trail is many KMs long, a person nominating a sign on that trail may not even be aware that other aspects of the trail has been accepted (e.g. "the start"). Trails can be hundreds of KMs long in case so may even be impossible to for a nominator to check if something else on the trail has been nominated.

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 2,600 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As far as I'm concerned, each marker is acceptable, every trail has multiple points you can join, so you can't say the start and the end is the only acceptable ones as people will start and end at completely different points, not to mention several walking and hiking trails go through the middle of nowhere, so every trail marker wluld be unique to the area around it

  • Xmacke7x-INGXmacke7x-ING Posts: 220 ✭✭✭✭

    In Germany it is close to impossible to get hiking or biking trails accepted with the standard trailmarkers.

    I posted this topic in several wayfarer groups and many say they reject them because they are generic, mass produced or nothing special and Not visually unique or there are too many of them.

    I would disagree with that. They are not generic because the trail is nominated not the trail marker.

    They are definitly not mass produced because the cities and distances towards the cities change with every trail marker. You won't find one twice with the same information.

    They are visually unique because you can clearly distinguish them from the surrounding area. If you search for them on the trail you will find them.

    If they are too many of them then you could still Fall ist duplicate. But Most often they are a few hundred meters apart from the next one. But this argument should never count for the first one nominated in an area.

    There is a lot of effort to be done by Niantic to get the new criteria and the new interpretation into the reviewing process

  • NeohBel-PGONeohBel-PGO Posts: 52 ✭✭

    As said before, this needs clarification by Niantic. It seems the subject of what 'visually unique' means to them isn't too clear. Now the definition is that it should stand out from other objects in the area. The question then is how big an area we are talking about. At the moment, this causes most trail markers to be rejected.

    What qualifies as 'trails' isn't too clear either. Here in Belgium we have 'Knooppunten' (nodes) and you find directional signs from each node to the nearby ones (in both directions). You can imagine that's a lot of 'markers' along the route. A small example from my area in which every red dot is a marker. If you come from the south, every marker on the route will guide you to node 98, in the other direction you'll find markers towards node 99. And (apart from an arrow) all those signs look exactly the same. So:

    • mass produced? Yes
    • Visually unique? No
    • Generic? Yes.
    • Interesting 'trail'? No, it is just a safe cycling route.

    By the way: I do agree that every interesting walking trail should be accepted (even if it's represented by a boring trail marker). As you said, the trail is nominated, not the marker.

    I see a lot nominations for public sports equipment, playgrounds, markers, etc. One could wonder if the 'generic' criterium should even be applied to any of those. Things that make you do sports generally are mass produced, not visually unique and generic...

  • TWVer-INGTWVer-ING Posts: 777 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It doesn't even matter if you want to call them trails or not. The eligibility criteria is "promotes exercise" (and "promotes exploration"), and that is exactly what these node networks do. They are primarily intended to be used for recreational cycling and walking, just like regular trails do. So they promote exercise. If they were just infrastructure for cyclists, then the route would take a left turn on the Drie Eikenstraat, and directly into the Strijdersstraat. If it wasn't for exploring and exercising, they wouldn't make a detour through the Kladdenbergstraat, the Meester Richard Goossensstraat and the Boerenlegerstraat.

    In your picture, it appears that these markers are grouped per 2. 2 markers on each intersection. Probably 1 for each direction. I would agree that each of these groups of 2 markers should only have 1 wayspot, and the other one is a duplicate.

    Since the "generic" criteria, along with "mass-produced", etc. is listed as a clarification under "Does not meet eligibility criteria", it would make sense that it wouldn't apply to objects and "area's" (and therefor objects that placemark an area) that do meet eligibility criteria. Almost everything can be justified to be "mass-produced, generic, or not visually unique or interesting". It's not a free for all reject whatever you want sentence.

  • Xmacke7x-INGXmacke7x-ING Posts: 220 ✭✭✭✭

    Amen to that. Can you somehow rate my cycling trail nominations. There is a long way to go until they get accepted here in germany. With the second nomination of rejected nominations I began to add the criteria page and Niantics AMA stance on cycling trails into the supporting image. I hope that this will lead to change some reviewers stance on cycling trails

  • Jtronmoore-PGOJtronmoore-PGO Posts: 1,581 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Agreed people will use that to reject everything! I also believe if niantic specifically states “this object is eligible” you cant use the “doesn’t meet eligibility” as a reject reason. They are polar opposites! Then they try to use the mass produced or generic explanation which also isnt true cause 99% of these have names on them which would be unique to the trail.

    That and we dont use that rejection for baseball fields or playgrounds even though they are all quite the same generic and mass produced. Even a park in my town has 8 baseball diamonds. And I didnt have a single problem getting them to pass as we all know they are generally eligible. Will trail signs ever be like that? Time will tell

  • NeohBel-PGONeohBel-PGO Posts: 52 ✭✭

    Agreed, people should use the correct rejection criteria when rating. And I do agree some trails really are worth having stops (plural!) to them. I just think we should also look at the environment, and the "exploring" arguement just doesn't make sense in a boring urban area, full of ugly Belgian houses.

    I'd argue here the 'knooppunten' in Belgium guide you to the safest cycling routes in the first place, not the prettiest. To me that puts them on the same level as any bicycle lane: true that it encourages you to exercise, but that doesn't mean every place where you can cycle should become a Waystop. As in my example: the Strijdersstraat is a busy single way street with a lot of car traffic. Hence the detour.

  • TWVer-INGTWVer-ING Posts: 777 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Do you seriously believe what you are writing? The Drie Eikenstraat looks about just as busy as the Strijdersstraat. If you take the short route, it's about 200m from where the trail splits of the shortest route. If you follow the trail, it is about 1000m. That is a 800m detour for a 200m route. 270m (70m more than 200m) of that detour is in the Drie Eikenstraat, which isn't any safer than the Strijdersstraat. It is ridiculous to believe that detour is only for safety reasons.

    A bicycle lane is just infrastructure. It doesn't guide you (through) anywhere. There are no arrows.

    The node network markers do not guide you to a certain destination. Their purpose is about the journey, not the destination. People may ask for directions to Fort 5 or the center of Edegem, but they will not ask for directions to node 98 or 99 (unless maybe when a marker went missing). People use them because they want to exercise, not because they want to get somewhere.

  • Kellerrys-INGKellerrys-ING Posts: 696 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @NeohBel-PGO Trail markers fill "a great place for exercise" eligibility criteria. There is no need to consider "a great place for exploration" criteria for eligibility.

    Or are you just saying that you dislike the current criteria?

  • Xmacke7x-INGXmacke7x-ING Posts: 220 ✭✭✭✭

    It is a long way to go until cycling and hiking trails are generally accepted. The stats of my wayfarer group are 0 of 8 at the moment. Most reviewers either ignore, do not know or make up their own criteria

  • NeohBel-PGONeohBel-PGO Posts: 52 ✭✭

    I don't get why people ONLY point to eligibility criteria for this. The criteria page for eligibility literally says:

    A note on eligibility: if a Wayspot nomination meets one of the below criteria, that's great! But remember that eligibility alone isn't sufficient to turn a nomination into an accepted Wayspot. Carefully consider the eligibility criteria, along with the acceptance criteria, rejection criteria, and content guidelines, when evaluating nominations.

    Eligibility just means the spot should be considered. It doesn't mean it should be accepted without further examination. If any rejection criterium applies, it doesn't matter how fantastic a wayspot is.

    I'm not questioning the eligibility of trails, it just isn't clear if the 'visually unique' or 'mass produced' rejection criteria should be applied here. The criteria are pretty vague on this part, but it looks like a substantial part of the community rejects nominations based on this criterium.

    Drie Eikenstraat has a bicycle lane separated from the driving lanes. Strijdersstraat: Narrow street, 1 direction, heavy traffic including trucks that supply the commercial center of Edegem. I cycle there sometimes, the detour (through a quiet park) easily is the safest route. So yes, I do believe what I'm writing. Safety is an important criterium for the location of the "knooppunt" route.

    This detour surely isn't placed there for the architectural value of the environment imho... Just open Google Streetview on the "Boerenlegerstraat" and you'll see what I mean. Tell me honestly, does that part of the route "encourage you to exercise"? If that image was on the folder for the cycling route, I'd even stay at home.

    When considering the Node networks, I genuinly believe that POI's along the trails make much better candidates for Wayspots than the markers everyone is fussing about, specially in boring residential areas. People aren't even considering the criteria anymore: it feels like "there is a marker, so it must become a wayspot". That's dull, lazy and I don't think that's what Niantic had in mind.

  • Kellerrys-INGKellerrys-ING Posts: 696 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You changed the subject. Why shoud "a great place for exploration" criteria be considered when trails and trail markers are not under it?

    I can easily understand mass-produced rejection reason used for objects/examples under "a great place for exploration" eligibility criteria. Especially

    • Unique Art or Architecture

    But I don't see a logical reason to reject mass produced POIs under "a great place to excercise" criteria. Being unique or visually interesting is not the "point" of that criteria. For me it's just an excuse to reject nominations one doesn't like or considers boring.

  • Xmacke7x-INGXmacke7x-ING Posts: 220 ✭✭✭✭

    The concept of visually unique is understood wrongly very often. A trail marker must be visually unique. If it is not visually unique it fails its purpose. VIsually unique means that it has to stand out of its surrounding. You have to easily find it. Trail markers are there to be easily found. They lead the cyclist or hiker along the trail.

    Many trail markers are not mass produced. The cycling trail markers in the area where I live. Indicate the direction, the distance towards nearby cities or places and have a plaque with the name, logo or code of the trail. As the distances always change there is not one which is mass produced.

    With the new criteria these two points of mass produced and visually unique are not even mentioned anymore as rejection criteria. When Niantics changes the review process the visually unique category will be gone for sure. I hope that this leads to more consistent reviewing and hinders the mass ejections of totally eliglbe nominations.

  • NeohBel-PGONeohBel-PGO Posts: 52 ✭✭

    Good point, it's a shame the criteria don't make that distinction. It would be more logical though, most equipment stimulating exercise is mass produced and mostly ugly, isn't it? :-D

    Considering the trails/markers I think we (myself included) are getting off topic here a bit, so let's go tot the core of this discussion.

    First of all: trails are eligible and often great nominations. The markers on them can be used as a proxy for the trail since otherwise you don't have a physical reference point to put your marker on. I think we all agree on this part. (That's what was in the AMA at least.) In this case the arguement of 'mass produced' could never be used: you simply can't mass produce walking trails.

    I think many people don't see the 'proxy' thing when rating, they see a picture of an object that's mass produced and reject on that criterium. (Which is why perfectly fine nominations get rejected as @Xmacke7x-ING said.) Only the markers that look like works of art or unique handcrafted items seem to get through this way.

    The question still rises then: how many "parts" of the trail should be accepted? Only one (embodied by 1 marker, which would make every other nomination of the same trail a duplicate) or multiple (nominating the different parts of the trail)? How far apart should they be? What if other POIs are nearby, shouldn't they be chosen above the 'boring' parts of the trail?

    How to handle "Knooppunten" then is a whole other discussion imho. There are many parts of those routes I'd still reject: a part of a route through a boring residential neighbourhood could be argued as 'generic' and not interesting (which is still in the rejection criteria).

  • Kellerrys-INGKellerrys-ING Posts: 696 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I find it hard to believe someone seriously arguing there should be only one trail marker per trail. It's just a discussion of how far apart those should be.

    "What if other POIs are nearby, shouldn't they be chosen above the 'boring' parts of the trail?"

    This is a judgement call for the people nominating POIs, not for reviewers.

  • NeohBel-PGONeohBel-PGO Posts: 52 ✭✭

    Well if markers are proxies for a hiking trail, then two nominations of the same trail would make them duplicates. Specially if the markers can't be distinguished from eachother.

  • Xmacke7x-INGXmacke7x-ING Posts: 220 ✭✭✭✭

    But if both trail markers are more than 500 meters apart no one will notice.

    You could even argue that every trail marker which are at Crossroads should be eliglbe because they Help the cyclist or the hiker to stay on the trail.

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